Timothy and Titus – Inconspicuous Leadership

1 Timothy 5 checklistI am a list maker…even in retirement from my secular work. For me, what doesn’t get listed, doesn’t get done. It is also very rewarding for me to check that item off the list when it is accomplished. The list has a progression of priorities. One task cannot happen until another task is completed. And so life goes with my lists guiding my behavior and productivity.

As I journal each morning in my conversational prayer with God, the Father, His Spirit guides me to make another list that helps me to mature and grow in Him. I am convicted of some of those “fruits of the Spirit” that I have not tended to or cultivated, have ignored or left undone. His Holy Spirit redirects my thoughts and helps me form a list of tasks that will help me improve my behavior. “Keep a close check on yourself”, writes Paul to Timothy. For me, that means to make a spiritual checklist that keeps me in close contact with the will and purpose of our Father, God and helps me to grow closer to Him.

We can do nothing of significance without God. I am convinced that He guides us to all things that are good for our growth and aid our learning about Him and how He works. Paul also gives Timothy sound advice about how to treat those whom God has called to lead with character traits with another list of how to lead. This list still applies to us today. The theme of this episode seems to be; Know God, Know Yourself, Know The Message, Know Your Audience. Our deeds, good and bad, will be evident. Be driven by God’s love in us.

1 Timothy 5, The Message

17-18 Give a bonus to leaders who do a good job, especially the ones who work hard at preaching and teaching. Scripture tells us, “Don’t muzzle a working ox” and “A worker deserves his pay.”

19 Don’t listen to a complaint against a leader that isn’t backed up by two or three responsible witnesses.

20 If anyone falls into sin, call that person on the carpet. Those who are inclined that way will know right off they can’t get by with it.

21-23 God and Jesus and angels all back me up in these instructions. Carry them out without favoritism, without taking sides. Don’t appoint people to church leadership positions too hastily. If a person is involved in some serious sins, you don’t want to become an unwitting accomplice. In any event, keep a close check on yourself. And don’t worry too much about what the critics will say. Go ahead and drink a little wine, for instance; it’s good for your digestion, good medicine for what ails you.

24-25 The sins of some people are blatant and march them right into court. The sins of others don’t show up until much later. The same with good deeds. Some you see right off, but none are hidden forever.

1 Timothy 5 check yourselfLEADERSHIP PRINCIPLE #6: Keep a Close Check on Yourself

Leadership Characteristics –

–Fully rely on God. Trust Him with all you are and all you have. We are His. All we have is His.
–Ask God “if there is anything offensive to you, cleanse me.” as the Psalmist prayed.
–Repent with a heart and mind not wanting to return to the old life.
–Look full into the face of Jesus, our Master, Lord and Savior with laser focus so we know what direction to take next.
–“Keep a close check on yourself.” Avoid, “he did it, I can, too” or “my sin is not as bad as his sin” or “everybody’s doing it” mentality.
–Ask God for wisdom, insight and understanding.
–Allow God’s transformation to continue in our lives.
–Ask God to make your lists of to BE and to DO. HE will prioritize your lists in ways you cannot imagine! Where He guides, He provides help all along the journey.
–Do all in a Spirit of love for God and others.
–Care enough to confront others with God’s love and concern for their spiritual well-being and growth.

Warning   The things on our spiritual check list can never be crossed off because we’ll be working on them our whole lives. By listing we are reminding ourselves of what we need to work on to “keep a close check” on our lives. It is only by The Atonement of Jesus Christ can we accomplish anything of eternal significance.

Dear Heavenly Father,
You have convinced me that we must do spiritual “business” with You each day to improve our being in You. Thank you for helping us on this journey. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit that points out things in our behavior that could cause us to crash…before crashing. Thank you for always being with us, guiding and directing, loving and protecting and challenging us to grow and bear Fruit. Continue to transform me. Transform your church. Transform the world through your church.
In Jesus Name, Amen

Posted in Blessings, Christian Living, Christian Perspective, Embrace, Encouragement, Faith, Forgiveness, Grace, harvest, heaven, Holy Spirit, Hope, hospitality, hugs, insight, investments, Jesus, joy, Leadership, Listen, lost but found, Love, Mercy, ministry, Praise, Prayer, Romans, Salvation, Searching, Teaching, Thanksgiving, Training, Transformation, trust in God, Truth, Unconditional love, waiting on God, wisdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


After living in this world for seventy plus years, I’m learning I cannot always trust what people say to me.  (I know, right?!)  You have probably discovered this, too.  It only takes a small amount of time on earth to realize that trust is precious and can be broken by those you love and care about most.  Trust is broken when lies are told and lataer discovered.  Trust is broken when those you think have your back are really putting you down behind your back.  Trickery, slander, deceit, pretension, and lies are all characteristics of our real enemy, Satan, and we fall for it.  Satan, was kicked out of heaven for wanting to take God’s place as God.  As we know, that didn’t work, so he continually torments, tempts and lies to God’s people and everyone else God has created, telling them they deserve more than what they are getting in order to discredit God by discrediting God’s Holy Spirit who lives in us upon rebirth. 

The moment we say yes to Jesus, we enter a battle with the one who hates Jesus.  So we must diligently see to know God, know His Word, know to whom you belong and can trust unreservedly but also know your enemy and don’t be surprised at this attacks on your being as he uses others to do his dirty work.  Be a “wise guy” who sees the Star of Truth and seeks to find Truth in the person of Jesus Christ. 

John, Jesus’ beloved disciple, helps us to decern truth from fiction:

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

You, dear childrenare from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.” (1 John 4:1-6)

As we begin our new study of the gospels, beginning with Matthew, we realize how important and good it was to camp with the prophets before diving into the New Testament.  ALL that the words given to the prophets by God will now be fulfilled in Jesus, His Son.  The words of the prophets connect the old with the new.  We reach back in time and now we will see how it all plays out as God leads.  Every detailed of what God said He would do is fulfilled in His Son, Jesus.

“God with us” has come to earth and moved into the neighborhood of humanity as Son of Man and Son of God.  Jesus will be mentored by Joseph, his father on earth while being guided by His Father in Heaven.  God will provide for this unique and amazing journey in ways that surprise even Joseph and Mary, his devoted parents on earth.

Battles with the enemy begin right now.  Herod is used by the enemy to hunt down the Child with intentions to kill Him who came to earth to save us.  Spoiler alert:  Satan does not win.

Matthew 2, The Message

Scholars from the East

1-2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory—this was during Herod’s kingship—a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, “Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.”

3-4 When word of their inquiry got to Herod, he was terrified—and not Herod alone, but most of Jerusalem as well. Herod lost no time. He gathered all the high priests and religion scholars in the city together and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”

5-6 They told him, “Bethlehem, Judah territory. The prophet Micah wrote it plainly:

It’s you, Bethlehem, in Judah’s land,
    no longer bringing up the rear.
From you will come the leader
    who will shepherd-rule my people, my Israel.”

7-8 Herod then arranged a secret meeting with the scholars from the East. Pretending to be as devout as they were, he got them to tell him exactly when the birth-announcement star appeared. Then he told them the prophecy about Bethlehem, and said, “Go find this child. Leave no stone unturned. As soon as you find him, send word and I’ll join you at once in your worship.”

9-10 Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time!

11 They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.

12 In a dream, they were warned not to report back to Herod. So they worked out another route, left the territory without being seen, and returned to their own country.

* * *

13 After the scholars were gone, God’s angel showed up again in Joseph’s dream and commanded, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay until further notice. Herod is on the hunt for this child, and wants to kill him.”

14-15 Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother under cover of darkness. They were out of town and well on their way by daylight. They lived in Egypt until Herod’s death. This Egyptian exile fulfilled what Hosea had preached: “I called my son out of Egypt.”

16-18 Herod, when he realized that the scholars had tricked him, flew into a rage. He commanded the murder of every little boy two years old and under who lived in Bethlehem and its surrounding hills. (He determined that age from information he’d gotten from the scholars.) That’s when Jeremiah’s revelation was fulfilled:

A sound was heard in Ramah,
    weeping and much lament.
Rachel weeping for her children,
    Rachel refusing all solace,
Her children gone,
    dead and buried.

19-20 Later, when Herod died, God’s angel appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt: “Up, take the child and his mother and return to Israel. All those out to murder the child are dead.”

21-23 Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother, and reentered Israel. When he heard, though, that Archelaus had succeeded his father, Herod, as king in Judea, he was afraid to go there. But then Joseph was directed in a dream to go to the hills of Galilee. On arrival, he settled in the village of Nazareth. This move was a fulfillment of the prophetic words, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”


We learn…

  • Every prophecy about Jesus’ life on earth is fulfilled.
  • Wise guys with seeking hearts found who they were looking for and worshiped Him.
  • God speaks and Joseph obeys immediately as if God and Joseph are working in tandem, in complete unity of Spirit.  I love that, don’t you?
  • God spoke to Mary who treasured all these happenings in her heart forever.
  • God provided gifts from the scholars so Joseph, Mary and a toddler can immediately make the journey to Egypt!  Where God guides, God provides!
  • The enemy is defeated by our all knowing God.

Reaction to Jesus’ birth was mixed. The wise men came to worship Jesus, while King Herod tried to kill him.  Mankind will always have a choice to make.  What’s your choice?  Life in Jesus who made it possible for us to have an intimately loving relationship with God, our Father in Heaven who says we are more than enough to come and live with him forever?  OR Satan’s way that leads to death because of living in ways against God—the views of this fleeting world of betrayal, envy, jealousy, lies, deceit, cover ups, scandal, distrust, hate…all things opposite of God?  There is no middle ground to stand on.

Two choices.  Choose to be a wise guy!  Seek the Savior!  When you find Him, bow down before Him, believe that He is Truth, repent of sins, and be saved to live forever with Jesus.

Just as God said…happened.  Our trust builds when we continually see truth fulfilled.


Thank you for coming to earth, leaving the throne of heaven, to come down as a human baby with caring, God-devoted parents to oversee and care for you.  You trusted them as they trusted you.  Wow, just that thought alone is amazing to me.  Trust is so precious and can be broken so easily here on earth.  I trust in you, Jesus, for all my life with nothing held back.  You are God and I am not.  You accept me, save me and make me whole to receive all you want to give that will help me grow even more deeply in love with you.  Your love, mercy and grace are truly amazing.  There is no one like you!

Cleanse my heart, renew my mind, refresh and feed my soul, and restore the joy and peace of your salvation at work in me.

In Jesus Name, Amen.  I believe.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment


There is a chorus of my youth I still recall when challenging situations overwhelm me.  Just singing a few lines lifts my thinking to a higher, more realistic perspective of the circumstance—God’s perspective.  So, let’s talk about Jesus!

Let’s talk about Jesus, the King of kings is He,

The Lord of lords supreme, through all eternity. 

The great I AM, the Way, the Truth, the Life, the Door,

 Let’s talk about Jesus more and more.

Yesterday we concluded our study of the prophets of God with Malachi who had last word in the Old Testament.  Then God was silent for about four centuries.  The Messiah (the One who would come to save), announced and foretold by the prophets, is now ready to come after this long silence.  

The Messiah does indeed come but Jesus does not come with the expected regality fit for a king with a formal ceremony or even a pompous procession deemed necessary for proud and noble royalty.  He comes as a helpless baby born to a couple who love God but are of lowly means.  Joseph is a carpenter and his “espoused”, promised wife to be is a teenager.  Jesus, Messiah, our Savior, and Lord, is born in a stall as farm animals look on.  He is wrapped tightly in cloth strips to keep him warm and secure by his loving mother.  Then Mary, with the help of Joseph, placed him carefully in a bed of hay covered with blankets.

We will talk about Jesus more and more by beginning with the account and eyewitness of Matthew.  But first, let’s gain an overall knowledge of the New Testament as a whole by reading Eugene Peterson’s introduction which is worthy of our attention before diving into Matthew:

“The arrival of Jesus signaled the beginning of a new era. God entered history in a personal way, and made it unmistakably clear that he is on our side, doing everything possible to save us.  It was all presented and worked out in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  It was, and is, hard to believe—seemingly too good to be true.”

“But one by one, men and women did believe it, believed Jesus was God alive among them and for them.  Soon they would realize that he also lived in them.  To their great surprise they found themselves living in a world where God called all the shots—had the first word on everything, had the last word on everything.  That meant that everything, quiet literally every thing, had to be re-centered, re-imagined, and re-thought.”

“They went at it with immense gusto. They told stories of Jesus and arranged his teachings in memorable form. They wrote letters.  They sang songs.   They prayed.  One of them wrote an extraordinary poem based on holy visions.  There was no apparent organization to any of this; it was all more or less spontaneous and, to the eye of the casual observer, haphazard.  Over the course of about fifty years, these writings added up to what would later be compiled by the followers of Jesus and designated ‘The New Testament.’”

“Three kinds of writing—eyewitness stories, personal letters, and a visionary poem—make up the book.  In the course of this writing and reading, collecting and arranging, with no one apparently in charge, the early Christians, whose lives were being changed and shaped by what they were reading, arrived at the conviction that there was, in fact, someone in charge—God’s Holy Spirit who was behind and in it all.  There was nothing accidental in any of this, nothing merely circumstantial.  They were bold to call what had been written ‘God’s Word,’ and trusted their lives to it.  They accepted its authority over their lives.  Most of its readers since have been similarly convinced.”—Peterson

Peterson seeks to bring the Greek language of the New Testament to our everyday lives’ thinking, using our language structure, so that we truly understand what was happening then and gain perspective and understanding of why Jesus came to earth to reconcile us to God.  Jesus cleared the path, The Way, the Only Way, to God so we could establish our individual relationship with God.  It’s personal and it’s forever! 

Now, let’s talk about the line of David from whom Jesus is born.  Matthew, a devout Jew, wants us to know the lineage of the Messiah.  He begins there…

Matthew 1, The Message

The family tree of Jesus Christ, David’s son, Abraham’s son:

2-6 Abraham had Isaac,

Isaac had Jacob,

Jacob had Judah and his brothers,

Judah had Perez and Zerah (the mother was Tamar),

Perez had Hezron,

Hezron had Aram,

Aram had Amminadab,

Amminadab had Nahshon,

Nahshon had Salmon,

Salmon had Boaz (his mother was Rahab),

Boaz had Obed (Ruth was the mother),

Obed had Jesse,

Jesse had David,

and David became king.

6-11 David had Solomon (Uriah’s wife was the mother),

Solomon had Rehoboam,

Rehoboam had Abijah,

Abijah had Asa,

Asa had Jehoshaphat,

Jehoshaphat had Joram,

Joram had Uzziah,

Uzziah had Jotham,

Jotham had Ahaz,

Ahaz had Hezekiah,

Hezekiah had Manasseh,

Manasseh had Amon,

Amon had Josiah,

Josiah had Jehoiachin and his brothers,

and then the people were taken into the Babylonian exile.

12-16 When the Babylonian exile ended,

Jeconiah had Shealtiel,

Shealtiel had Zerubbabel,

Zerubbabel had Abiud,

Abiud had Eliakim,

Eliakim had Azor,

Azor had Zadok,

Zadok had Achim,

Achim had Eliud,

Eliud had Eleazar,

Eleazar had Matthan,

Matthan had Jacob,

Jacob had Joseph, Mary’s husband,

the Mary who gave birth to Jesus,

the Jesus who was called Christ.

17 There were fourteen generations from Abraham to David,

another fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile,

and yet another fourteen from the Babylonian exile to Christ.

The Birth of Jesus

18-19 The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they enjoyed their wedding night, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.

20-23 While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—‘God saves’—because he will save his people from their sins.” This would bring the prophet’s embryonic revelation to full term:

Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son;
They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”).

24-25 Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. But he did not consummate the marriage until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus.


Eugene Peterson…Intro to Matthew;

“The story of Jesus doesn’t begin with Jesus.  God had been at work for a long time.  Salvation, which is the main business of Jesus, is an old business.  Jesus is the coming together in final form of themes and energies and movements that had been set in motion before the foundation of the world.”

“Matthew opens the New Testament by setting the local story of Jesus in its world historical context.  He makes sure that as we read his account of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we see the connections with everything that has gone before.  ‘Fulfilled’ is one of Matthew characteristic verbs: such and such happened ‘that it might be fulfilled.’  Jesus is unique, but he is not odd.”

“Better yet, Matthew tells the story in such a way that not only is everything previous to us completed in Jesus; we are completed in Jesus.  Every day we wake up in the middle of something that is already going on, that has been going on for a long time: genealogy and geology, history and culture, the cosmos—God.   We are neither accidental nor incidental to the story.  We get orientation, briefing, background reassurance.”

“Matthew provides the comprehensive context by which we see all God’s creation and salvation completed in Jesus, and all the parts of our lives—work, family, friends, memories, dreams—also complete in Jesus.  Lacking such a context, we are in danger of seeing Jesus as a mere diversion from the concerns announced in media.  Nothing could be further from the truth.” –Peterson

Yes, it’s personal.


Thank for allowing us to study, to dive deeper still into your Word along with what you have led others who know you who talk about you more and more!  I could talk about you all day long.  I love to learn more.  Give us wisdom, insight and understanding so that your message in us is spoken through us with clarity as we talk about you more and more and more…

In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


… God of Abraham
You’re the God of covenant
And of faithful promises
Time and time again
You have proven
You’ll do just what You said

… Though the storms may come and the winds may blow
I’ll remain steadfast
And let my heart learn, when You speak a word
It will come to pass

… Great is Your faithfulness to me
Great is Your faithfulness to me
From the rising sun to the setting same
I will praise Your name
Great is Your faithfulness to me

… When the seasons change
You remain the same

… God from age to age
Though the earth may pass away
Your word remains the same, yeah
Your history can prove
There’s nothing You can’t do
You’re faithful and true

… Though the storms may come and the winds may blow
I’ll remain steadfast
And let my heart learn, when You speak a word
It will come to pass

… Great is Your faithfulness to me, oh
Great is Your faithfulness
From the rising sun
From the rising sun to the setting same (I will praise Your name)
I will praise Your name (oh, praise Your name)
Great is Your faithfulness to me, yeah, yeah (oh, oh)

… Your faithfulness, it never runs out (yeah)
It never runs out
Oh-oh, Your faithfulness
Oh, it never runs out (it never runs out)
It never runs out (it never runs out)

… I put my faith in Jesus
My anchor to the ground
My hope and firm foundation
He’ll never let me down, no
I put my faith in Jesus
My anchor to the ground (my hope and firm foundation)
He’s my hope and firm foundation (He’ll never let me down)
He’ll never let me down…

The song, Promises by Maverick, is playing in the background as I read God’s message through Malachi that tells what His people can count on happening when Jesus comes with healing and forgiveness, along with judgement for the wicked.  God’s Son of all that is right, came the first time to earth to show us how to love God back, how to have a deep abiding relationship with him, along with how to love each other—all while on a mission to save us.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16) Then, when God says, Jesus will come back a second time to judge who belongs in His Kingdom and who does not.  We can count on—accountability!

Malachi 4, The Message

The Sun of Righteousness Will Dawn

 1-3 Count on it: The day is coming, raging like a forest fire. All the arrogant people who do evil things will be burned up like stove wood, burned to a crisp, nothing left but scorched earth and ash—a black day. But for you, sunrise! The sun of righteousness will dawn on those who honor my name, healing radiating from its wings. You will be bursting with energy, like colts frisky and frolicking. And you’ll tromp on the wicked. They’ll be nothing but ashes under your feet on that Day.” God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so.

Remember and keep the revelation I gave through my servant Moses, the revelation I commanded at Horeb for all Israel, all the rules and procedures for right living.

5-6 But also look ahead: I’m sending Elijah the prophet to clear the way for the Big Day of God—the decisive Judgment Day! He will convince parents to look after their children and children to look up to their parents. If they refuse, I’ll come and put the land under a curse.”


Elijah is not John the Baptist according to Bible scholars but might be one of the witnesses who stand firm in Jerusalem while others mock and abuse them in the “last days” before final judgement by Jesus, the sun of righteousness who will dawn.” Our hope in Jesus will be finally realize in full just as He said it would.  Believers in Jesus who follow and wait expectantly can count on it!

“Turn or burn” was preached almost exclusively as I was growing up in the “old days” (Fifties and Sixties).  I wanted to hear more of the benefits of following Jesus, loving Him, sharing in the joy of knowing him with others.  But as Jesus said, “in this world you will have trouble” but the words that immediately follow are “take heart, I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)

So, the fact remains, who do we choose?  (To do nothing is also a choice made.)  How will be live our lives here?  Who will we follow?  Truth or lies?  Our answers to these questions we must deal with daily lead to life or death forever.   All of creation is eagerly awaiting the return of the Savior, expecting to be delivered from the bondage of sin (Check our Romans 8:18–23). We too should be expecting Him and, while we’re waiting, tell others about Jesus! For the arising of “the Sun of Righteousness” will mean either burning or blessing according to our passage: blessing to those who have trusted Him, burning to those who have rejected Him. 

I guess the question is, can we handle the heat that will result from our bad behaviors? Do we dread or anticipate with joy the coming of Jesus?  Do we put our faith and hope in Jesus who helps us love like He loves?  Do we seek to think like Jesus so we will be more like Him?  In the end, when Jesus comes back, I am sure I will prefer His blessings.  Some like it hot, I do not.

Believe and be saved forever—Count on it!  Leave fear behind and follow Hope!


Your message is clear.  To love you back is the best for us.  To have faith in the One and Only who can be trusted and can be counted on in good times and bad is a “no brainer”.  I love you, Lord with all that is in me.  I know that I can count on you for all of life here that prepares me for there with you forever. 

“I put my faith in Jesus
My anchor to the ground
He’s my hope and firm foundation
He’ll never let me down…”

In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, I believe!  Yes, and Amen!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


I think it is safe to say these rhetorical questions have angrily or bitterly come from our lips more than once in our lives:  What am I doing wrong, why won’t this work?   Why won’t life work for me? Why do I feel this way about myself?  Why am I grumping to those around me?  Why does God seem so far away?  Why can’t I hear him?  Why do others treat me with hate in their hearts?  What did I do to them?  What will make life work for me and not against me? 

“How have we wronged you, God?”  “How do we come back to you?”

“Glad you asked”, says Malachi with words directly from God.  God tells His people through Malachi exactly what they are doing wrong with how to correct it.  God addresses their disobedient behavior by reminding them that HE never changed but they have.  “Return to Me, so I can return to you.” –God  

And then God tells them how.   

Malachi 3, The Message

The Master You’ve Been Looking For

“Look! I’m sending my messenger on ahead to clear the way for me. Suddenly, out of the blue, the Leader you’ve been looking for will enter his Temple—yes, the Messenger of the Covenant, the one you’ve been waiting for. Look! He’s on his way!” A Message from the mouth of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

2-4 But who will be able to stand up to that coming? Who can survive his appearance?

He’ll be like white-hot fire from the smelter’s furnace. He’ll be like the strongest lye soap at the laundry. He’ll take his place as a refiner of silver, as a cleanser of dirty clothes. He’ll scrub the Levite priests clean, refine them like gold and silver, until they’re fit for God, fit to present offerings of righteousness. Then, and only then, will Judah and Jerusalem be fit and pleasing to God, as they used to be in the years long ago.

* * *

“Yes, I’m on my way to visit you with Judgment. I’ll present compelling evidence against sorcerers, adulterers, liars, those who exploit workers, those who take advantage of widows and orphans, those who are inhospitable to the homeless—anyone and everyone who doesn’t honor me.” A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

* * *

6-7 “I am God—yes, I Am. I haven’t changed. And because I haven’t changed, you, the descendants of Jacob, haven’t been destroyed. You have a long history of ignoring my commands. You haven’t done a thing I’ve told you. Return to me so I can return to you,” says God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

“You ask, ‘But how do we return?’

8-11 “Begin by being honest. Do honest people rob God? But you rob me day after day.

“You ask, ‘How have we robbed you?’

“The tithe and the offering—that’s how! And now you’re under a curse—the whole lot of you—because you’re robbing me. Bring your full tithe to the Temple treasury so there will be ample provisions in my Temple. Test me in this and see if I don’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams. For my part, I will defend you against marauders, protect your wheat fields and vegetable gardens against plunderers.” The Message of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

12 “You’ll be voted ‘Happiest Nation.’ You’ll experience what it’s like to be a country of grace.” God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so.

The Difference Between Serving God and Not Serving Him

13 God says, “You have spoken hard, rude words to me.

“You ask, ‘When did we ever do that?’

14-15 “When you said, ‘It doesn’t pay to serve God. What do we ever get out of it? When we did what he said and went around with long faces, serious about God-of-the-Angel-Armies, what difference did it make? Those who take life into their own hands are the lucky ones. They break all the rules and get ahead anyway. They push God to the limit and get by with it.’”

16 Then those whose lives honored God got together and talked it over. God saw what they were doing and listened in. A book was opened in God’s presence and minutes were taken of the meeting, with the names of the God-fearers written down, all the names of those who honored God’s name.

17-18 God-of-the-Angel-Armies said, “They’re mine, all mine. They’ll get special treatment when I go into action. I treat them with the same consideration and kindness that parents give the child who honors them. Once more you’ll see the difference it makes between being a person who does the right thing and one who doesn’t, between serving God and not serving him.”


God condemned Israel’s complacent and contemptuous attitude toward him. The priests withheld their best animals from the sacrifice, and the people got tired of waiting for the Messiah.  We can learn the most from God when we give him our undivided attention.  God will give us all the answers to our questions when we lay down our agendas, be still before Him, let go of all that is bothering or distracting us and just listen.

When we wonder why God seems far away, we must pause to realize who changed.  God does not change.  Who moved?  God is always present.  Mm, must be us.

Warren Wiersbe comments,

“The first prophecy in the first paragraph refers to our Lord’s first coming in grace and mercy, but the prophecy speaks of His Second Coming in judgment. When He comes, He will prove that God is just by purifying his people and judging rebellious sinners. Jesus Christ is the “messenger of the covenant” in that He fulfilled all the demands of the covenant in his life, suffered the penalties in His death, and rose from the dead to usher in a new covenant of grace.” 

John the Baptist ministry is foretold…

The name Malachi means “My messenger,” and the messenger referred to in this statement is John the Baptist. Speaking of him, Jesus said, “this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You’ ” (Matthew 11:10; see Mark 1:2 and Luke 7:27). The image is of people preparing a way for the king to come, leveling the roads and removing the obstacles so that the king might enjoy an easy and comfortable trip. John prepared the way for the ministry of Jesus by preaching the Word to the crowds, urging them to repent of their sins, baptizing them, and then introducing them to Jesus.

In the Law of Moses, God had provided three ways for people and things to be cleansed and made acceptable to God: water, fire, and blood. Jesus blood paid for our sins forever.  And He will come back to claim His own who believes and follows Him.

God does not tolerate the abuse and humiliation of His created by His created.

Since God made and owns everything, He doesn’t need anything that we can bring Him. But He is pleased when we obey His Word and bring our gifts as an act of worship with grateful hearts.  “Paul taught grace giving in 2 Corinthians 8–9, which is certainly beyond 10 percent. Many Christians feel that if believers under the old covenant brought their tithes, how could Christians under the new covenant begin with anything less?” –Wiersbe 

Give generously and gratefully.  “Bring ye all the tithes” and offerings into the storehouse so others may benefit from our collective giving.”  Give often without hesitating to think what you will get from giving.  Give with no strings attached.  Give because God gave His Son to save us. 

What can we possible give that God does not already have?  Ourselves.  “Test Me in this…” says the God of all, over all, and in all.  Our giving is growing us to be all that God requires of us as stated by Micah, the prophet…

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 

When we act, love, and walk with God we become more generous givers like God, we think more like Jesus while relying of the power of His Holy Spirit living in us.  Everyone who believes benefits from God’s Spirit reproducing His character in us which bears His holy fruits of righteousness…see Galatians 5.  We cannot do life with Jesus who changes everything!

“…you’ll see the difference it makes between being a person who does the right thing and one who doesn’t, between serving God and not serving him.”


My desire is to be who you created me to be and do what you say.  May the power of your Holy Spirit teach me, lead me, challenge, and convict me to do what you say with gratitude in my heart.  I choose to follow you.  I love you because you first loved me!  There is no one like you, God.  I trust in you alone!  Cleanse my heart, renew my mind, refresh and feed my soul, and restore the joy of your salvation at work within me.  I know you are not finished with me yet!

In Jesus Name, Amen

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


We greatly enjoy going west to see family in Cody, Wyoming who are fun to be with as we laugh over stories in our past lives with those we love.  We are in awe of this part of the country with the Great Teton mountains, roaring rivers with lots of vast ranch lands as far as the eye can see.  The area is diverse in nature.  We visit Yellowstone National Park while we are there to discover the many facets of God’s creation there.  In one area, we are intrigued by the hot springs boiling up from the depths of the earth along with the “spewing” of Old Faithful showing off the forces of nature.  There is beauty and there is unquestionable power in the sulpher springs with not much growing seen on the same day with Artist’s Point with beautiful waterfalls and growing wild flowers of all colors! 

What is dangerous is ignoring the signs that tell you where to walk so you won’t be burned and swallowed up literally as you make your way through the interesting works of nature.  Other warning signs that tell you to stay in your car as the wild animals do their thing along the way are not to be ignored, either!  But some do and live to regret that decision.  Mm. 

God created all.  God is in all He created.  Because of Adam and Eve’s choice to disobey God their Creator and lover of their souls, we now live in a beautifully created world we must care for with diligence but where dangerous desires to sin lurks around every corner of our being.  We have to consistently be on guard!  Satan’s goal is to stand between God and us, distracting and drawing us away from God’s care, protection, and provision, with offers of self-made power, glory and temporary riches instead of receiving salvation from sins provided by God’s Son, Jesus, who gives life eternal.

The prince of lies wants us to think like him, not Jesus, teaching us with desire to be God as we disobey God! So, we must follow God’s sign posts along the journey lest we fall into a pit designed by the enemy to take our souls from God’s care and keeping—along with His plan of eternal life with Him.

Malachi is posting God’s warning signs of what happens to us when we disobey what and who is best for us—God.  He tells of the consequences of disrespecting the Creator of Life while our disinterest in who God is and what He says is overtaken by our pride and arrogance of being on our own without God.  We walk on dangerous ground while doing life the way we want to—having it our way along with whining and spewing if we do not get our way because others are getting in the way of our agenda!  Yikes.

Malachi 2, The Message

Desecrating the Holiness of God

1-3 And now this indictment, you priests! If you refuse to obediently listen, and if you refuse to honor me, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, in worship, then I’ll put you under a curse. I’ll exchange all your blessings for curses. In fact, the curses are already at work because you’re not serious about honoring me. Yes, and the curse will extend to your children. I’m going to plaster your faces with rotting garbage, garbage thrown out from your feasts. That’s what you have to look forward to!

4-6 Maybe that will wake you up. Maybe then you’ll realize that I’m indicting you in order to put new life into my covenant with the priests of Levi, the covenant of God-of-the-Angel-Armies. My covenant with Levi was to give life and peace. I kept my covenant with him, and he honored me. He stood in reverent awe before me. He taught the truth and did not lie. He walked with me in peace and uprightness. He kept many out of the ditch, kept them on the road.

7-9 It’s the job of priests to teach the truth. People are supposed to look to them for guidance. The priest is the messenger of God-of-the-Angel-Armies. But you priests have abandoned the way of priests. Your teaching has messed up many lives. You have corrupted the covenant of priest Levi. God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so. And so I am showing you up for who you are. Everyone will be disgusted with you and avoid you because you don’t live the way I told you to live, and you don’t teach my revelation truly and impartially.”

10 Don’t we all come from one Father? Aren’t we all created by the same God? So why can’t we get along? Why do we desecrate the covenant of our ancestors that binds us together?

11-12 Judah has cheated on God—a sickening violation of trust in Israel and Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the holiness of God by falling in love and running off with foreign women, women who worship alien gods. God’s curse on those who do this! Drive them out of house and home! They’re no longer fit to be part of the community no matter how many offerings they bring to God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

13-15 And here’s a second offense: You fill the place of worship with your whining and sniveling because you don’t get what you want from God. Do you know why? Simple. Because God was there as a witness when you spoke your marriage vows to your young bride, and now you’ve broken those vows, broken the faith-bond with your vowed companion, your covenant wife. God, not you, made marriage. His Spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage. And what does he want from marriage? Children of God, that’s what. So guard the spirit of marriage within you. Don’t cheat on your spouse.

16 “I hate divorce,” says the God of Israel. God-of-the-Angel-Armies says, “I hate the violent dismembering of the ‘one flesh’ of marriage.” So watch yourselves. Don’t let your guard down. Don’t cheat.

17 You make God tired with all your talk.

“How do we tire him out?” you ask.

By saying, “God loves sinners and sin alike. God loves all.” And also by saying, “Judgment? God’s too nice to judge.”


I knew my limits of bad behavior just by the look in my parents’ eyes as they grew tired of my arguing my case to misbehave.  How it must make God tire of our whining and insolence, our arrogance and pride.  It breaks God heart when we choose to walk on the dangerous ground of sin that separates us from all He has to give.  Yes, He loves us that much—so much, in fact, that “he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) 

Believe and be saved.  God’s Holy Spirit comes as the Helper to guide us on our journey through darkness and danger with gifts of peace, joy, wisdom, insight and understanding—all from God who loves us more than we can wrap our heads around—more than we can imagine!  Put all your Hope in Jesus!

Pause for a moment…What steals our attention during worship? Do our thoughts wander toward the day’s demands? Do we become preoccupied with later activities and plans made by someone else? What are some strategies we could employ to help keep our minds focused on Jesus?

  • Lay down today’s agenda.  Seriously, lay it down—all the way down!
  • Lay down what we think we want or need. 
  • Lay down all that is occupying our minds and distracting us from God. 
  • Now, be still, let go, and listen for God.  He longs to talk with us.

If we do not practice the discipline of daily laying down” what we want, we slip away from God’s best, for us— “His good, pleasing and perfect will”.  (See Romans 12)

God must deal with those He has called to lead His people.  The priests were dishonoring God’s name in another way: They were despising the very privilege of being priests. They were taking for granted the high calling God had given them and treating the temple ministry with contempt. Serving at the altar was merely a job, not a ministry, and they did it to please themselves, not to please and glorify the Lord. Unfortunately, that same attitude is in the church today. 

Watch out—look for signs that lead us away from danger—ourselves and our justification of our sins!

Oh Lord,

I repent of times when I thought I was better with a better plan so I went full steam ahead spewing orders which resulted in a mess to clean up.  I want your best so I can be at my best because of you working in me and through me.  I want what you want for me.  Transform my being by renewing my mind, cleansing my heart, refreshing and feeding my soul while restoring the joy of your salvation at work within me.  Yes!  I trust in you alone for Life!  You are my only Hope!

In Jesus Name, For your Glory, Amen!  Yes!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


It seems believers must always judge each other on how we worship, the way we worship, the songs we sing or don’t sing, the platform of praise, the people who lead, the clothes they wear, the way they raise their hands or don’t raise their hands, as well as the way they act after stepping off the platform.  We also judge how loud or how quiet the instruments are played or not played. 

Yes, we are highly judgy people of praise and worship!  The more judgement we spew is probably the meter which measures the authenticity of our own worship.  “Worship wars” over the ages of time that include formulas that guide what and how long we sing, when we sing it with inserted prayer at the “right time” have been going on since people began to worship together.  And oh, how that breaks the heart of God.  It broke my heart as a musician and worshiper of God!

God gifted musicians centuries ago, led people to praises Him–yes even before we were born!  I became aware of this process of praise early as a worship leader trained early on by grandpa the “song leader” in church and then more formally in higher education.  I have discovered that worship is mostly manmade and will probably continue to go on as long as we live in an imperfect world with two choices of who we will worship—God or His enemy who wants to be God.  Satan is the contributor to our prideful thoughts as we praise.  Be aware.  Run from this enemy.

Therefore, we must always check ourselves in worship to our God who we say we love with all our hearts, minds, and souls.  We were born to praise the One who created us and who we have asked to live in us upon repenting, in Jesus Name, of our sins.  We are born to worship the One and Only who longs to have a real, wholesome relationship with us that is pure, holy, and eternal!

God says, “I love you!”  What we say back to Him with honest, humbled hearts of love for God is worship.  What we do, how we live, after we say we love Him back is also worship.  How we treat our brothers and sisters, again is also worship of God.

Malachi, God prophet, explains it well…

Malachi 1, The Message

No More of This So-Called Worship!

A Message. God’s Word to Israel through Malachi:

2-3 God said, “I love you.”

You replied, “Really? How have you loved us?”

“Look at history” (this is God’s answer). “Look at how differently I’ve treated you, Jacob, from Esau: I loved Jacob and hated Esau. I reduced pretentious Esau to a molehill, turned his whole country into a ghost town.”

When Edom (Esau) said, “We’ve been knocked down, but we’ll get up and start over, good as new,” God-of-the-Angel-Armies said, “Just try it and see how far you get. When I knock you down, you stay down. People will take one look at you and say, ‘Land of Evil!’ and ‘the God-cursed tribe!’

“Yes, take a good look. Then you’ll see how faithfully I’ve loved you and you’ll want even more, saying, ‘May God be even greater, beyond the borders of Israel!’

* * *

“Isn’t it true that a son honors his father and a worker his master? So if I’m your Father, where’s the honor? If I’m your Master, where’s the respect?” God-of-the-Angel-Armies is calling you on the carpet: “You priests despise me!

“You say, ‘Not so! How do we despise you?’

“By your shoddy, sloppy, defiling worship.

“You ask, ‘What do you mean, “defiling”? What’s defiling about it?’

7-8 When you say, ‘The altar of God is not important anymore; worship of God is no longer a priority,’ that’s defiling. And when you offer worthless animals for sacrifices in worship, animals that you’re trying to get rid of—blind and sick and crippled animals—isn’t that defiling? Try a trick like that with your banker or your senator—how far do you think it will get you?” God-of-the-Angel-Armies asks you.

Get on your knees and pray that I will be gracious to you. You priests have gotten everyone in trouble. With this kind of conduct, do you think I’ll pay attention to you?” God-of-the-Angel-Armies asks you.

10 “Why doesn’t one of you just shut the Temple doors and lock them? Then none of you can get in and play at religion with this silly, empty-headed worship. I am not pleased. The God-of-the-Angel-Armies is not pleased. And I don’t want any more of this so-called worship!

Offering God Something Hand-Me-Down, Broken, or Useless

11 “I am honored all over the world. And there are people who know how to worship me all over the world, who honor me by bringing their best to me. They’re saying it everywhere: ‘God is greater, this God-of-the-Angel-Armies.’

12-13 “All except you. Instead of honoring me, you profane me. You profane me when you say, ‘Worship is not important, and what we bring to worship is of no account,’ and when you say, ‘I’m bored—this doesn’t do anything for me.’ You act so superior, sticking your noses in the air—act superior to me, God-of-the-Angel-Armies! And when you do offer something to me, it’s a hand-me-down, or broken, or useless. Do you think I’m going to accept it? This is God speaking to you!

14 “A curse on the person who makes a big show of doing something great for me—an expensive sacrifice, say—and then at the last minute brings in something puny and worthless! I’m a great king, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, honored far and wide, and I’ll not put up with it!”


Real worship of God comes a sincere heart of love for God that permeates every part of our being and affects how we live our lives.

Eugene Peterson explains:

“Most of life is not lived in crisis—which is a good thing.  Not many of us would be able to sustain a life of perpetual pain or loss or ecstasy or challenge.  But crisis has this to say for it:  In time of crisis everything, absolutely everything, is important and significant.  Life itself is on the line.  No word is casual, no action marginal.  And almost always, God and our relationship with God is on the front page.”

“But during the humdrum times, when things are, as we tend to say, ‘normal’, our interest in God is crowded to the margins of our lives and we become preoccupied with ourselves.  ‘Religion’ during such times is trivialized into asking ‘God-questions’—calling God into question or complaining about him, treating the worship of God as a mere hobby or diversion, managing our personal affairs (such as marriage) for our own convenience and disregarding what God has to say about them, going about our usual activities as if God were not involved in such dailiness.”

“The prophecy of Malachi is made to order for just such conditions.  Malachi creates a crisis at a time when we are unaware of crisis.  He wakes us up to the crisis of God during the times when the only thing we are concerned with is us.  He keeps us on our toes, listening for God, waiting in anticipation for God, ready to respond to God, who is always coming to us.”

“Malachi gets in the last word of Holy Scripture in the Old Testament.  The final sentences in his message to us evoke the gigantic figures of Moses and Elijah—Moses to keep us rooted in what God has done and said in the past, Elijah to keep us alert to what God will do in the days ahead.  By leaving us in the company of mighty Moses and fiery Elijah, Malachi considerably reduces the danger of our trivializing matters of God and the soul.”—Peterson, Introduction to Malachi, The Message


As Paul directed us in Romans 12, “In view of your mercy”, I offer all I am to you as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is my true and proper worship of you so I will know what your perfect will is for me today and always. Thank you, Lord for saving my soul. Thank you for continuing to transform my mind with your teaching.  I worship you with all that is in me for I love you heart, mind, body and soul.

In Jesus Name, Amen

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


What a day that will be
When my Jesus I shall see
And I look upon his face
The one who saved me by his grace
When he takes me by the hand
And leads me through the Promised Land
What a day, glorious day that will be (in the second person)

There’ll be no sorrows there
No more burdens to bear
No more sickness and no more pain
No more parting over there
But forever I will be
With the one who died for me
What a day, glorious day that will be

Zechariah predicted that the Lord would visibly appear. Our Lord ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:9–12), and when He returns to earth, He will stand on the Mount of Olives and cause a great earthquake to change the terrain (Is. 29:6; Rev. 16:18, 19). This will create a new valley that will provide an escape route for many of the people. Changes will also occur in the heavens so that the day will be neither light nor darkness, morning nor evening (see Is. 60:19, 20).

Zechariah 14, The Message

The Day Is Coming

1-2 Note well: God’s Judgment Day is on the way:
    “Plunder will be piled high and handed out.
I’m bringing all the godless nations
    to war against Jerusalem—
Houses plundered,
    women raped,
Half the city taken into exile,
    the other half left behind.”

3-But then God will march out against the godless nations and fight—a great war! That’s the Day he’ll take his stand on the Mount of Olives, facing Jerusalem from the east. The Mount of Olives will be split right down the middle, from east to west, leaving a wide valley. Half the mountain will shift north, the other half south. Then you will run for your lives down the valley, your escape route that will take you all the way to Azal. You’ll run for your lives, just as you ran on the day of the great earthquake in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah. Then my God will arrive and all the holy angels with him.

6-7 What a Day that will be! No more cold nights—in fact, no more nights! The Day is coming—the timing is God’s—when it will be continuous day. Every evening will be a fresh morning.

What a Day that will be! Fresh flowing rivers out of Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea, half to the western sea, flowing year-round, summer and winter!

God will be king over all the earth, one God and only one. What a Day that will be!

* * *

10-11 The land will stretch out spaciously around Jerusalem—to Geba in the north and Rimmon in the south, with Jerusalem towering at the center, and the commanding city gates—Gate of Benjamin to First Gate to Corner Gate to Hananel Tower to the Royal Winery—ringing the city full of people. Never again will Jerusalem be totally destroyed. From now on it will be a safe city.

12-14 But this is what will happen to all who fought against Jerusalem: God will visit them with a terrible plague. People’s flesh will rot off their bones while they are walking around; their eyes will rot in their sockets and their tongues in their mouths; people will be dying on their feet! Mass hysteria when that happens—total panic! Fellow soldiers fighting and killing each other—holy terror! And then Judah will jump into the fray!

14-15 Treasures from all the nations will be piled high—gold, silver, the latest fashions. The plague will also hit the animals—horses, mules, camels, donkeys. Everything alive in the military camps will be hit by the plague.

* * *

16-19 All the survivors from the godless nations that fought against Jerusalem will travel to Jerusalem every year to worship the King, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, and celebrate the Feast of Booths. If any of these survivors fail to make the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem to worship the King, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, there will be no rain. If the Egyptians don’t make the pilgrimage and worship, there will be no rain for them. Every nation that does not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths will be hit with the plague. Egypt and any other nation that does not make pilgrimage to celebrate the Feast of Booths gets punished.

20-21 On that Day, the Big Day, all the horses’ harness bells will be inscribed “Holy to God.” The cooking pots in the Temple of God will be as sacred as chalices and plates on the altar. In fact, all the pots and pans in all the kitchens of Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to God-of-the-Angel-Armies. People who come to worship, preparing meals and sacrifices, will use them. On that Big Day there will be no buying or selling in the Temple of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.


We prepare our hearts, minds, and souls for the coming of our Lord. 

We decide now, this day, whom we will love, serve and trust and obey.

Holiness will characterize all of life. For the believer today, this is the Old Testament version of 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” The Christian life has no “secular” or “sacred” divisions because everything comes from God and should be used for His glory.


Make us holy and pleasing to you.  Make me a sanctuary of your love, mercy and grace as you abide in me and I in you.

In Jesus Name, Amen

Come, Lord, Jesus, come.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


There is a fountain filled with blood
  Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
  Lose all their guilty stains:
  Lose all their guilty stains,
  Lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
  Lose all their guilty stains…

Zechariah 13, The Message

Washing Away Sins

“On the Big Day, a fountain will be opened for the family of David and all the leaders of Jerusalem for washing away their sins, for scrubbing their stained and soiled lives clean.

2-3 “On the Big Day”—this is God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaking—“I will wipe out the store-bought gods, erase their names from memory. People will forget they ever heard of them. And I’ll get rid of the prophets who polluted the air with their diseased words. If anyone dares persist in spreading diseased, polluting words, his very own parents will step in and say, ‘That’s it! You’re finished! Your lies about God put everyone in danger,’ and then they’ll stab him to death in the very act of prophesying lies about God—his own parents, mind you!

4-6 “On the Big Day, the lying prophets will be publicly exposed and humiliated. Then they’ll wish they’d never swindled people with their ‘visions.’ No more masquerading in prophet clothes. But they’ll deny they’ve even heard of such things: ‘Me, a prophet? Not me. I’m a farmer—grew up on the farm.’ And if someone says, ‘And so where did you get that black eye?’ they’ll say, ‘I ran into a door at a friend’s house.’

* * *

7-9 “Sword, get moving against my shepherd,
    against my close associate!”
        Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
“Kill the shepherd! Scatter the sheep!
    The back of my hand against even the lambs!
All across the country”—God’s Decree—
    “two-thirds will be devastated
    and one-third survive.
I’ll deliver the surviving third
to the refinery fires.
    I’ll refine them as silver is refined,
    test them for purity as gold is tested.
Then they’ll pray to me by name
    and I’ll answer them personally.
I’ll say, ‘That’s my people.’
    They’ll say, ‘God—my God!’”


Come to the fountain to be cleansed by the blood of the lamb!

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

O precious is the flow
that makes me white as snow;
no other fount I know;
nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Isaiah had admonished the nation, “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil” (Isaiah 1:16), but they refused to listen. Jeremiah had pleaded with His people, “O Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness that you may be saved” (Jeremiah 4:14), but they wouldn’t obey. But here, in response to Israel’s repentance and faith, the Lord would wash them clean. This forgiveness is part of the new covenant that God had promised to His people (Jeremiah 31:31–34).  The new covenant is Jesus!

In contrast to the false prophets, the true Shepherd is presented throughout Zechariah.  The True Shepherd is Jesus!  Jesus quoted part of this prophecy when He was on His way to Gethsemane with His disciples (Matt. 26:31), and He referred to it again when He was arrested in the garden (Matt. 26:55, 56).


“Certainly the church is a defiled people who need to repent and be cleansed, and the promise of forgiveness is still valid (1 John 1:9). God often has to put us through the furnace of suffering before we’ll call on Him and seek His face (Hebrews 12:3–11; 1 Peter 4:12). If God’s people will follow the instructions of 2 Chronicles 7:14, the Lord will cleanse and bless the church and bring healing to the land.” –Warren Wiersbe, Wiersbe Study Bible

Repentance to God through Jesus brings forgiveness forever from our sins.  Freedom from confessed sins at the fountain flowing with God’s love, grace, and mercy makes us squeaky clean to enjoy His gift of peace and eternal joy no matter what happens next in our lives.  Yes!

O precious is the flow
that makes me white as snow;
no other fount I know;
nothing but the blood of Jesus.


Thank you for showing us yet again how the prophets’ words tell of Jesus.  Jesus, you are proved once more to be at the beginning of creation…alpha and our Lord on that “big day” at the end of time…omega.  You are Lord of my life.  I trust in you alone for life eternal.  Thank you for saving my soul, changing my mind, feeding my soul and most of all for cleansing my heart.

In Jesus Name, Amen

He touched me, oh, He touched me
And oh, the joy that floods my soul
Something happened, and now I know
He touched me, and made me whole

Since I’ve met this blessed Savior
Since He’s cleansed and made me whole
Oh, I will never cease to praise Him (to praise Him)
I’ll shout it while eternity rolls

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


I don’t know about you, but I get so disappointed by “click bait” when searching for real news of what is interesting to me and might help me to know more so I can learn more.  What is clickbait, you ask?  It is content on the internet whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page to advertise something unrelated to the photo or headline that baited your attention to “hook” you.  Truth is lost as you click to find answers to what baited your hook.

God cannot and does not lie.  His Word tells it like it is.  He is Truth whether we choose to believe it or not.  God does not change.  His truth does not change.  God does what He told the prophets He would do—step by step, in detail.  God’s Word can be trusted from Genesis to Revelation.  The proof is in the reading; the validity to others is in the living, doing what He says.  Jesus was the Word made flesh who moved into the neighborhood of humanity to fulfill all that God said about who He is and what He wants from us.  He wants to save us.  God wants us to love Him back and grow in a relationship with Him, a connection that cannot be broken.

The breaking news is God sent His Son, Jesus to earth to save us.  Jesus came to teach the world the Truth about who God really is, overcoming the fake news reports by religious leaders down through the ages that twisted and manipulated the message of God to suit themselves.  Zechariah delivers the news of this Big Day coming straight from God’s voice to Zechariah’s ears, then delivered to His people.  Zechariah foretells how God’s “religious” will have Jesus put to death, a piercing sword into his body.  And oh, how those who realize Jesus was God in flesh, come to save them, will weep…

Zechariah 12, The Message

Home Again in Jerusalem

1-2 War Bulletin:

God’s Message concerning Israel, God’s Decree—the very God who threw the skies into space, set earth on a firm foundation, and breathed his own life into men and women: “Watch for this: I’m about to turn Jerusalem into a cup of strong drink that will have the people who have set siege to Judah and Jerusalem staggering in a drunken stupor.

“On the Big Day, I’ll turn Jerusalem into a huge stone blocking the way for everyone. All who try to lift it will rupture themselves. All the pagan nations will come together and try to get rid of it.

4-“On the Big Day”—this is God speaking—“I’ll throw all the war horses into a crazed panic, and their riders along with them. But I’ll keep my eye on Judah, watching out for her at the same time that I make the enemy horses go blind. The families of Judah will then realize, ‘Why, our leaders are strong and able through God-of-the-Angel-Armies, their personal God.’

“On the Big Day, I’ll turn the families of Judah into something like a burning match in a tinder-dry forest, like a fiercely flaming torch in a barn full of hay. They’ll burn up everything and everyone in sight—people to the right, people to the left—while Jerusalem fills up with people moving in and making themselves at home—home again in Jerusalem.

7-8 “I, God, will begin by restoring the common households of Judah so that the glory of David’s family and the leaders in Jerusalem won’t overshadow the ordinary people in Judah. On the Big Day, I’ll look after everyone who lives in Jerusalem so that the lowliest, weakest person will be as glorious as David and the family of David itself will be godlike, like the Angel of God leading the people.

“On the Big Day, I’ll make a clean sweep of all the godless nations that fought against Jerusalem.

10-14 “Next I’ll deal with the family of David and those who live in Jerusalem. I’ll pour a spirit of grace and prayer over them. They’ll then be able to recognize me as the One they so grievously wounded—that piercing spear-thrust! And they’ll weep—oh, how they’ll weep! Deep mourning as of a parent grieving the loss of the firstborn child. The lamentation in Jerusalem that day will be massive, as famous as the lamentation over Hadad-Rimmon on the fields of Megiddo:

    Everyone will weep and grieve,
        the land and everyone in it:
    The family of David off by itself
        and their women off by themselves;
    The family of Nathan off by itself
        and their women off by themselves;
    The family of Levi off by itself
        and their women off by themselves;
    The family of Shimei off by itself
        and their women off by themselves;
    And all the rest of the families off by themselves
        and their women off by themselves.”


Interesting to note: “History shows that every nation that has ever tried to destroy the Jews has itself been destroyed. It will be no different when the nations collectively attack God’s chosen people.” –Warren Wiersbe

In delivering Israel from her enemies, God’s ultimate goal is more than their national preservation, for their spiritual restoration is uppermost in His heart. He wants to reveal Himself to them and establish the kind of relationship that was impossible in previous centuries because of their unbelief.

We cannot save ourselves from our sins.  Repentance isn’t something we work up ourselves; it’s a gift from God as we hear His Word and recognize His grace (Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2 Tim. 2:25). God will pour out the Spirit upon Israel as we read earlier from the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28, 29), and the people will realize their sins and call out to God for forgiveness.

Only Jesus can save us!  The people will finally see their Messiah whom the nation pierced (Ps. 22:16; Is. 53:5; John 19:34, 37) and will put their faith in Him. Forgiveness comes to any believing sinner only through faith in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

“While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Because “…God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

“Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.” 2 Peter 3:9, MSG


Thank you for saving my soul and making me whole. Thank you for your Word that never changes but is Truth that changes me.

In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


As I have written before in some of these posts, I used to teach first grade.  Early in my years of teaching, I acquired a tall paper mâché rabbit made by my husband for one of his college classes for his elementary degree.  In teaching young ones, it is very hard to step away, even for a moment, to answer a question of another teacher or the principal without stern directions to the children to behave and stay on task.  But as soon as they cannot see your eyes, their minds turn immediately to mischief.  Even though you are just outside the door and can hear them. 

So, I had the idea to use the new rabbit sitting on the shelf that they all admired as a “listener.”  (This was before Elf on the Shelf was invented!  I was ahead of my time!)  I stepped outside the door to talk briefly with the teacher, then walked back in, went right over the rabbit and put my ear next to him.  “How did they behave; what happened?” I asked the rabbit.  “They did what?”  Then I named a few names of people I knew would most likely be “guilty” with certain behaviors.  I almost laughed out loud at their eyes growing wide with wonder as I related exactly what happened!  From then on, I had the quietest class who stayed on task every time I stepped in the hall.  This may be trickery but it seems all humans need a “watcher” to hold them accountable for their actions.

At the end of the school year, a young little man came up to me and whispered, “I know it works…how the rabbit knows.”  Uh oh, he has figured it out, I thought.  Then he said, “There’s a tape recorder in his belly.”  All I could say was, “That’s a good observation!” 

Seriously, who are we when we think no one is watching?  Isn’t that part of growing up, doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do?

The following verses describe the invasion of the Holy Land by the Romans. Key places like the Jordan Valley, Lebanon, and Bashan are mentioned. The invading army is like a fire that burns the forests. The wailing shepherds are the rulers of the nation who have led the people astray and are now paying for their sins. 

God commanded Zechariah to play the role of the true Shepherd. He became a type of the Messiah at the time when our Lord was ministering on earth. The flock of Israel was destined for slaughter because of their wicked rulers, but he was to do his best to rescue them. The Jewish leaders weren’t concerned about the sheep; they were concerned only about their own position and power.  Recall Jesus preaching the difference the difference between good and evil shepherds as we read

“I am the Good Shepherd”—Jesus (See John 10)

Zechariah 11, The Message

1-4 Open your borders to the immigrants, proud Lebanon!
    Your sentinel trees will burn.
Weep, great pine trees! Mourn, you sister cedars!
    Your towering trees are cordwood.
Weep Bashan oak trees!
    Your thick forest is now a field of stumps.
Do you hear the wailing of shepherds?
    They’ve lost everything they once owned.
Do you hear the outrage of the lions?
    The mighty jungle of the Jordan is wasted.
Make room for the returning exiles!

Breaking the Beautiful Covenant

4-5 God commanded me, “Shepherd the sheep that are soon to be slaughtered. The people who buy them will butcher them for quick and easy money. What’s worse, they’ll get away with it. The people who sell them will say, ‘Lucky me! God’s on my side; I’ve got it made!’ They have shepherds who couldn’t care less about them.”

God’s Decree: “I’m washing my hands of the people of this land. From now on they’re all on their own. It’s dog-eat-dog, survival of the fittest, and every person for themselves. Don’t look for help from me.”

7-8 So I took over from the crass, money-grubbing owners, and shepherded the sheep marked for slaughter. I got myself two shepherd staffs. I named one Lovely and the other Harmony. Then I went to work shepherding the sheep. Within a month I got rid of the corrupt shepherds. I got tired of putting up with them—and they couldn’t stand me.

And then I got tired of the sheep and said, “I’ve had it with you—no more shepherding from me. If you die, you die; if you’re attacked, you’re attacked. Whoever survives can eat what’s left.”

10-11 Then I took the staff named Lovely and broke it across my knee, breaking the beautiful covenant I had made with all the peoples. In one stroke, both staff and covenant were broken. The money-hungry owners saw me do it and knew God was behind it.

12 Then I addressed them: “Pay me what you think I’m worth.” They paid me an insulting sum, counting out thirty silver coins.

13 God told me, “Throw it in the poor box.” This stingy wage was all they thought of me and my work! So I took the thirty silver coins and threw them into the poor box in God’s Temple.

14 Then I broke the other staff, Harmony, across my knee, breaking the family ties between Judah and Israel.

15-16 God then said, “Dress up like a stupid shepherd. I’m going to install just such a shepherd in this land—a shepherd indifferent to victims, who ignores the lost, abandons the injured, and disdains decent citizens. He’ll only be in it for what he can get out of it, using and abusing any and all.

17 “Doom to you, useless shepherd,
    walking off and leaving the sheep!
A curse on your arm!
    A curse on your right eye!
Your arm will hang limp and useless.
    Your right eye will go stone blind.”


Sin as consequences.  Sin still has consequences.  Jesus pays our sin-debt and His Holy Spirit can help us live through the consequences of our own behaviors.  We must ask for forgiveness from those we have hurt by our sins.  We must forgive ourselves for Jesus as forgiven us completely.  And we must forgive those who sin against us. Humbled, sincere hearts are restored and renewed by the power of God’s Holy Spirit.

Zechariah was commanded to adopt the role of a “foolish shepherd.” The word doesn’t mean “stupid” but “morally deficient, corrupt” because he doesn’t receive God’s truth. He’s “a worthless shepherd” because he doesn’t care for the sheep. Unlike the Good Shepherd, he doesn’t seek the lost, care for the young, feed the flock, or heal the injured. All he does is slaughter the flock to feed himself!  Zechariah plays a role to accentuate Truth telling. 

Zechariah is foretelling what Jesus will experience while on earth.  That God’s chosen people, who possess the inspired Scriptures, should reject Him who is “the truth” (John 14:6) and has come from the Father, and follow one who is a liar and is energized by Satan, is incredible to comprehend, but it will happen just as the Scripture says. 

And does the “thirty pieces of coins” sound familiar?  “They counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him (Jesus) over. — Matthew 26:14-16 Aren’t the prophets’ messages from God amazing?!  Don’t be a Judas!  Don’t sell out to evil!

Pause to reflect…do I really believe that what God says is really real? 

Do I need a “watcher” to keep focused on the one who loves me most?  Yes, I do—we all do.  We cannot be “good” on our own.  Tap into the power God gives us!  The work of God’s Holy Spirit living in us is all we need to know and do what is right.  Jesus knew we would need a Helper.  Listen to Him.  He is always with us, helping us to mature in our faith.  Obey His direction. 


Thank you for your Holy Spirit who convicts, challenges, comforts, teaches, guides, and encourages us in our walk with you.  Without you, we fail miserably trying to be “good”.  We need you every hour.  Thank you for watching over us.  We depend on you and trust what you say.  You are indeed the Good Shepherd to follow.

In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment